Writing prompt of the day: Write a ghazal poem.

Writing prompt of the day: Write a ghazal poem.

The ghazal, traditionally sung by Iranian, Indian, and Pakistani musicians, consists of five to fifteen independent couplets (two lines of rhymed verse usually in the same meter). According to the poet Agha Shahid Ali, each couplet is like “a stone from a necklace” and should “shine in that vivid isolation.” The first couplet introduces a rhyme scheme and refrain (repeated word or phrase) that are both used in the second lines of subsequent couplets. The last couplet usually refers to the author in the first or third person and often introduces an aspect of the poet’s name. Every line should be about the same length.

Your writing challenge today is to write your own ghazal.

I took the challenge and wrote about a very raw subject for me. It took me forever to finish, but I’m proud of the results, even though it is imperfect.

Here is my attempt to write a ghazal:

Mother


A word that carries the weight of the world: mother.

The Greeks claimed Atlas, but we claim Mother.

Though we long to keep laughing and singing,

you cannot save us from cages, Earth Mother.

Reborn in a new skin, a new body to feed

another’s hunger. Has anything changed for mother?

Her soul ripped from her vagina—shifting organs,

blood meets blood—and baby cries for mother.

I reach out, touch cold that could turn me bitter.

With frostbitten hands, I still reach for my mother.

Your turn! To free the writer, share your poem in comments below.

Rachel

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